Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It may be Fall, but there is still baseball

Although it feels very much like summer with both warm weather and baseball games continuing, the Fall season is very much here. Someone recently asked if I had any pumpkin recipes. Aside from the traditional pumpkin pie I couldn't think of anything until I saw the new cookbook by Patricia Wells. Her latest book, Vegetable Harvest is a delight. The recipes are unusual and straightforward with clear instructions, helpful hints in a "What I Learned" section along with Wine suggestions. Its the sort of cookbook I envision writing someday... a little introductory paragraph to set the mood for the recipe, listing of equipment needed then clearly outlined steps to prepare the dish.

Tonight we tried her Pumpkin and Sage Risotto which, although clearly written, was not immediately understood, to me. In my rush to get dinner started, I reached for the fresh thyme instead of the sage. None of which would have been apparent to anyone until I decided to photograph the dish with thyme instead of sage. My mind is most certainly on tomorrow's game and not tonight's dinner!!!

The risotto was wonderful, none the less.


For preparing the Pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, trimmed,peeled, and minced
Fine sea salt
2 cups 1/2 inch cubes of peeled pumpkin (can also use butternut squash)
8 leaves fresh sage
2 cups chicken stock

For preparing the Rice
about 5 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, peeled, halved
1 shallot, trimmed, peeled, minced
Fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups Italian Arborio rice
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the oil, shallot and salt. Cook covered, over low heat until soft but not browned, for about 3 - 4 minutes. Add the cubed pumpkin, half the sage and the 2 cups stock. Cover and simmer until the pumkin is cooked but still slightly firm, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the 5 cups stock and keep it simmering, at low heat, while you prepare the risotto.

3. In another large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic, shallot, and salt. Cook, covered, over low heat until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the rice and stir until the rice is well coated.

4. When the rice becomes glistening and semitranslucent, add a ladleful of the stock. Cook, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, 1 -2 minutes. Add another ladleful of the simmering stock and stir regularly until all the stock is absorbed. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. The rice should cook slowly and should always be covered with a veil of stock. Continue adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring frequently and tasting regularly, until the rice is almost tender but firm to the bite, about 17 minutes total. The risotto should have a creamy, porridgelike consistency.

5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese and the cooked, drained pumpkin. Taste for seasoning. Transfer the risotto to warmed soup bowls. Garnish remaining sage leaves or anyother herb you happen to have handy. Season with coarsely ground pepper. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells 2007


Lydia said...

I, too, love Patricia Wells' new book. And though the weather is in the 70s this week (what's up with that?), the farm stands are overflowing with pumpkin and other winter squashes. So I guess it's time for risotto!

T.W. Barritt said...

Diane - I've just been looking at Patricia Wells' book online and thinking about purchasing. Your delicious-looking risotto has given me extra motivation to click "buy!"

Diane said...

Hi Lydia and t.w.

Her book is fabulous. I prepared the salmon wrapped in spinach the other night...just great.